Friday, November 02, 2012

Fluoride Content in Black Tea, White Tea, Green Tea, and Oolong Tea

Fluoridated water is already overexposing many of us, so avoiding teas that contain high levels of fluoride in addition is a very good choice. 

Many studies recommend consuming a large quantity of tea daily to see health benefits. However, the quality of the tea may be the most important factor to consider since higher quality, loose leaf tea corresponds to minimizing toxins such as fluoride. Green, black, white and oolong teas naturally have differing levels of fluoride in the leaves.

Fluoride in Tea

As the controversy swells regarding fluoride in drinking water, it's important to look at our diet to minimize other sources of fluoride.
For some tea leaves, the fluoride content is high. The type of tea and quality of tea, however, determine the level of fluoride present. Making a healthier choice in tea will both minimize fluoride intake and maximize overall health benefits.
There are varying levels of fluoride in some popular teas: black tea, white tea, green tea and oolong tea. First you will want to understand the potential dangers of fluoride.

Less Fluoride in Young Tea Leaves

The Camellia sinensis plant is what produces the tea leaves for white, green, black and oolong teas. When this tea plant grows, the roots absorb fluoride from the soil and deposit the majority of it in the leaves.
The tea plant in particular is much more efficient at this process than other plants.
Since older, more mature leaves have had more time for this deposition, they contain up to 20 times more fluoride than younger tea leaves.

Anit-Oxidant EGCG Level in Tea Leaves

The powerful anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in tea is responsible for health benefits such as lowering LDL and has anti-cancer properties.
The level of EGCG decreases in more mature tea leaves, giving us further reason to prefer younger tea leaves.

Fluoride Content in Different Types of Tea

Type of Tea
Age of Tea Leaves
Fluoride Content
Notes
Green tea
mature
high
not allowed to oxidize, preserves flavonoids, catechins and polyphenols associated with health benefits
Black tea
mature
high
leaves oxidize after harvest to create unique flavors
Oolong tea
mature
medium/high
oxidation time between green and black tea to create smooth flavors
White tea
buds and young leaves
low
3x more antioxidants than green or black tea
Herbal tea
herbal tea is not made from a true tea plant
none
made from flowers, roots, herbs, etc.
See Linus Pauling Institute website for more detailed fluoride content of teas.

Quality of Tea and Fluoride Content

Younger tea leaves are used in higher quality teas and contain lower fluoride levels.
See the list from highest quality to lowest quality.
1. Loose leaf tea ~ Best Quality
2. Tea dust (tea bags)
3. Bottled tea (fluoride in water plus flouride in tea)
4. Brick tea (oldest leaves formed into brick shape) ~ Lowest Quality

Fluoride Content in Chinese Green Tea vs Japanese Green Tea

Soil in Japan is naturally lower in fluoride compared to China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, Japanese green tea will naturally have lower fluoride levels than Chinese green tea.
WHO lists several areas of the world where high naturally occurring fluoride concentrations affect tea crops and drinking water: India, Sri Lanka, parts of Africa and the Middle East (more information).

So... What is the Healthiest Type of Tea?

We should be limiting our total exposure to fluoride from tea, based on the potential dangers associated with fluoride exposure and the high levels present in many types of tea. At the same time, incorporating benefits from different types of teas provides a wide variety of benefits.
  • White tea is a true tea that contains high antioxidant power and has low fluoride levels, especially in loose-leaf form.
  • Green tea health benefits are well-studied. To incorporate benefits of green tea in the diet, finding a loose leaf option from Japan or a loose leaf option with younger leaves will limit fluoride while providing benefit.
  • Loose-leaf black tea and oolong tea from areas with lower environmental fluoride are best if you prefer black or oolong tea.
  • The fluoride-free options are herbal teas, but then the health benefits from true tea are not felt.
 Source; http://melisann.hubpages.com/